I started in April to move toward work again. In thought. Shaped my request to the Universe: when I’m ready, about 10 hours a week at a certain pay rate, knowing that 10 hours would be punishing, but possible.
A few weeks ago I got a call for a short-term temp gig this week. I’ve worked with the client on the same project beginning about two months before the hospital mess. The caller wondered–would I be interested in more temp gigs? Yes, with the understanding that I’m recovering from long-term illness and unable to work 8-hour days. About 3 to 4 hours a day? Yes.
On Tuesday when I got home after 3-1/2 hours at work, I sobbed the brain-fatigue out of me. Then, spent 6 hours lying down reading (=resting). Was able to make lunch.
Yesterday when I got home after 3 hours at work, was doing better–no sobbing until Big Mister rightly asked me to do something. Then, my response was like being poked at with a sharp stick, the end anointed with poison. My head throbs with fatigue, my eyes blink too slowly. I want to lie down and just stop.
Just over a year ago, four months out of hospital, I wrote about my bubble theory of recuperation, back when thinking was a full-time exercise, often in futility. It’s still there, my bubble that indicates when I’ve surpassed my tolerance of stimulation, of being alive to the world.
The fatigue smothers and terrifies. Smother now, terrify later: an advert I recommend you don’t respond to. The terrify part is wondering what will happen to me in a few days, knowing how tired I am now, how foggy and far away. The crashes are painful to the point of considering giving up, ceding responsibility for my life and my part in anyone else’s life. To feel calm, to dab at paint, pet the cats.
Ceding won’t make things better. Life would become harder, which is not that difficult to imagine. I know in my guts what “hard” means. Often I wonder why I’m not daily vomiting up the anguish.
I need to summon courage as I go back for another 3-hour block this morning. I need to tell the client that I’m done for the week, that I get tired very easily and it’s time for a break until next week. Behind those statements is fear: fear that I’ll miss this chance to return to the working world where I earn money in order to keep our house.
One more request for the Universe: please help me present myself coherently, cogently, and confidently. Don’t let ’em see me sweat.
But strangely enough, when I can become still, I also find the voice of my faith that everything will come in the right order, that I’ll be presented with and take the correct steps to continue moving forward to the less-foggy. I may teeter on the edge of a crash, but maybe it won’t happen. I won’t know if I don’t try.